COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spent his time at the podium Thursday laying out a dire warning: If Ohioans don’t continue social distancing and masking up during the upcoming holiday weekend, it will be a catalyst that undoes all the progress we’ve made thus far.

He says he knows this for a fact, since it happened during the Fourth of July.

“What we do this weekend is really going to determine what our fall will look like. We’ve got a lot at stake.  We’ve got kids back in school, we’ve got college kids back in school. We’ve got a lot of things going for us in Ohio, and we do not want to turn back,” DeWine said.

The governor made his plea with the people of Ohio Thursday, amid a grim new milestone.

“On a sad note of course, 50 confirmed deaths reported by the Department of Health since yesterday. That's the highest number of deaths reported on a single day since June,” he said.

He’s asking everyone to refrain from large holiday gatherings this weekend, saying the spread can often be traced back to large groups.

“Cincinnati — multiple off-campus parties, with students attending from several universities on August 14. It resulted in at least 78 confirmed cases so far,” said DeWine.

In Wood County, there are 15 confirmed cases stemming from a university move-in day on August 27.

But it wasn’t all bad news. On Thursday, the CDC sent out a letter telling states to prepare for a vaccine as early as November. DeWine says they’re laying the groundwork now for an efficient deployment once that vaccine is available.

“What we can do is get ready for whenever that day is  — and it can't come soon enough. But obviously, we want it done right. But whenever that day comes, we will be ready. So, we’ve already started working, pulling people together, figuring out how we will distribute it, and looking at the priorities of how it should be distributed.” said DeWine.